Tag Archive: Charlotte Purdue

There have been mixed feelings on the road for the British girls as Gemma Steel and Charlotte Purdue battled it out for the top honours in the streets of Dublin to underline their promise whereas Paula Radcliffe suffered a serious blow to her hopes of eventually claiming that elusive Olympic medal in London as she faltered well off her target in Vienna.

On the track, Martyn Rooney opened his account to winning ways in style in Los Angeles and Abi Oyepitan evoked robust glimpses of the form that paved the way to the 200m final in Athens, with young Sophie Papps illustrating a glittering future in the women’s sprints at the Lee Valley.

OMV Half Marathon, Vienna

The much hyped “Emperor vs the Queen” virtual handicap race against great Haile Gebrselassie never really waltzed round the streets of the city of Johan Strauss as Radcliffe faded away over the back end of the half marathon course despite an encouraging start.

On a specially arranged format, the Briton was afforded a headstart of 7:52 on the differential between the lifetime bests of the two legends of distance running and showed purpose in the early stages to move past the opening 5k on schedule in 16:13.

But it turned all uphill from there on as the effects of a recent bout of bronchitis and pleurisy caught up with her and her strength started to waver in a test of mentality rather than an intended gauge of form and sharpener that reared up.

In due consideration, that was a race the world marathon record holder should have never run but she may have fallen for that false feeling of full recovery so many times when strength hasn’t actually settled back in yet, meddled with the anxiety of slipping behind her Olympic agenda.

By stark contrast, the ’emperor’ showed rejuvenated again, as if holding a charm of making, so much so that he soon released his rabbits of their duties to follow his own preferred tempo and breezed past Radcliffe slightly after the 15km mark, extending a shout of encouragement to his credit, on the way to wrapping up both contests in a time of 60.52.

Topping the women in a final time of 72:03, the slowest she has ever returned over the distance, will hardly offer any consolation for the Brit who, as Steve Cram wisely points out, will have to pick her way and races up to London very carefully henceforth, without any margin for mistakes.

SPAR Great Ireland Run, Dublin

The spell of the Olympics in London looks to work wonders on almost every department of home athletics and the spectacle of season revelation Gemma Steel and returning-to-action Charlotte Purdue pulling away from the field into a commanding British one-two in the women’s 10km race stirred life into hope of a revival over a distance that has been deep in the shades in recent years on the track.

Steel worked up a decisive four second gap on her domestic rival over the final kilometre of the course to collect the spoils in a huge best of  32:06, moving ninth in the UK all-time lists, and built on a sound run on all surfaces since autumn but Purdue won’t feel hard done by either with runner-up in a big new lifetime mark of 32:10 to slot into eleventh fastest ever herself.

Even more so when the young AFD runner came into the race still feeling a swift 15:29 long leg at the National Women’s 6-stager at Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, the previous day in her legs to show that form is falling in nicely down the way. Both times, without a doubt, indicate that the two Brits could pull the A standard of 31:45.00 on the track in the following several weeks and a place on the British team to London, an exciting prospect.

On the other hand, Helen Clitheroe endured a bad day at the office on her comeback from a training spell in Portugal as she looked rather uncomfortable midway through and trailed a long way behind the main action in fourth in 33:02 (SB), with Frenchwoman Christelle Daunay splitting the Brits in third in 32:27.

The men’s race could not bear the term contest by any means as great Kenenisa Bekele stormed to the front with the gun to force a searing pace, confident and flowing round the route, that saw him walk away with victory in a swift 27:49, a huge course record, as none survived on his tail even by the halfway mark.

A gap of almost a minute up on his nearest rival, as well as a few fleeting smiles looking round on the way, told the tale of a man back in serious business and feeling pleased with his form and fitness even though there was hardly a field to really test him over the distance. But time and races will tell whether he is back to his best once he swings onto the track next month with his showdown against Mo Farah over 5000m in Eugene looming large on the horizon.

Spaniard Ayam Lamdassam hung on to runner-up in 28:48 a mere second ahead of Italian Daniele Meucci, fourth and third behind Farah over 10000m in Barcelona, as they trailed a long way behind while Nick McCormick enjoyed another encouraging run to end up fifth in 29:04 and will take plenty of heart from a scalp like former European 5000m champion Jesus Espana.


Charlotte Purdue, one of Mick Woods‘s wonder distance girls, has finally opted out of the European Cross Country Championships in Slovenia a fortnight from now as she has apparently failed to shake off a knee complaint troubling her during the last ten days or thereabouts.

The European U20 XC reigning champion suffered the injury while training at altitude at Iten in Kenya last week and was forced to cut short her warm-weather stint there slightly earlier than intended to urgently return back to Britain.

She was feeling confident of making the starting line fully fit in Vilenje despite missing the European Trials in Liverpool yesterday but came out earlier to post “Decided not to run the European XC this year” on Twitter, indicating that she needs to keep her eyes on the greatest picture that is the London Olympics next summer.

At the end of the day, a very sensible decision on her part as the Olympics come around only once in four years, let alone in your own backyard, while she could still go back and contend for that very same title with even higher prospects on the country in a year again.

Senior Men (9.8km)

Andy Vernon has opened his individual account on the country to fabulous effect as he streaked past a surprisingly strong Mark Draper in the dying stages of the senior men’s race to convincingly defend his title in 29:19 in windy conditions, placing a good three seconds in between.

The World Student Games champion opted to sit in the leading pack to keep close hold of procedures throughout and didn’t hit the front but for roughly the last furlong where his superior track speed over the distance told. A substantial mental boost, he has got now a sterner task on his hands at the racing ground of Vilenje in less than a fortnight as he is turning to face his last year’s demons and force his way into the medals.

Highlights from Liverool on Saturday

Likewise, distance ‘drifter’ Draper, hardly a familiar figure in these quarters, cashed in on his recent altitude training spell in Kenya into runner-up (29:22) straight away and is looking for a lot more in Slovenia while hopefully earning a British vest will Mark a new beginning for him to reach his potential – maybe reverting to the barriers as shown late in summer?

Third, a mere two seconds adrift, came Ryan McLeod, the son of Olympic 10000m silver medallist Mike, to grab the last automatic slot in a solid display and returning-to-action Andy Baddeley may have done enough to earn his place following in fourth at a similar distance behind.

Apparently moving up to 5000m, the Beijing 1500m finalist employed a more reserved early pattern and showed only in the second half of the race to work his way through, edging out early leader James Walsh in an identical time (29:26) at the end.

Bristol’s winner Frank Tickner wound up sixth in 29:29, Steve Vernon was seventh some way behind in 29:38 while marathon Olympic hopeful Phil Wicks occupied an eventual ninth in 29:49 and US-based Keith Gerrard closed out the top ten in 29:52.


1.Andy Vernon 29:19, 2.Mark Draper 29:22, 3.Ryan McLeod 29:24, 4.Andy Baddeley 29:26, 5.James Walsh 29:26, 6.Frank Tickner 29:29, 7.Steve Vernon 29:38, 8.Ben Whitby 29:45, 9.Phil Wicks 29:49, 10.Keith Gerrard 29:52, 11.Jonny Taylor 29:53, …, 16.Jonny Mellor 30:04, 17.Ricky Stevenson 30:05, 19.David Bishop 30:05, 28.Jon Pepper 30:18, 26.Ben Moreau 30:20, 28.Glen Watts 30:29, 38.Steve Mitchell 30:56


U23 Men

‘American’ Mitch Goose rose a rather surprise U23 top finisher in 29:55, 12th overall, in a separate contest incorporated into the senior’s race but, rather astonishingly, it wasn’t pre-race favourite James Wilkinson he had to hold off to the title, trailing well behind in fifth (22nd overall) by a good 16 secs. But, quite likely, a one-off for the latter who ought to be shown confidence and be drafted into the age group outfit still.

Dereck Hawkins came home in second  just under 30 minutes (29:59) and steeplechaser Matthew Graham got his hands on the last automatic spot in 30:05.


1.Mitch Goose 29:55 (12th overall), 2.Dereck Hawkins 29:59 (14th), 3.Matthew Graham 30:05 (18th), 4.Matthew Gillespie 30:09 (20th), 5.James Wilkinson 30:11 (22nd), 6.Ashley Harrell 30:12 (24th), 7.John McDonnell 30:33 (32nd), 8.Charlie McLean 30:39 (42nd), 9.Daniel Clorley 31:04 (44th)


U20 Men (6.7km)

Jonny Hay emerged an impressive winner out of his much anticipated duel with Richard Goodman as his sizzling turn of pace in the final burn-up saw him fashion sheer daylight of six seconds between them at the end, clocking 20:23 to 20:29 respectively.

Both were very pleased with their displays, however, having also just returned from altitude training in Kenya. The last automatic berth was staked out by Mark Shaw who slotted nicely in the gap between the top duo and fourth-placer Kieran Clements for a convincing third in 20:37.


1.Jonny Hay 20:23, 2.Richard Goodman 20:29, 3.Mark Shaw 20:37, 4.Kieran Clements 20:44, 5.Niall Fleming 20:46, 6.Jack Goodwin 20:53, …, 8.Robbie Farnham-Rose 21:00, 9.Charlie Grice 21:05


U17 Men

1.Laurrie Probert 17:38, 2.Charlie Joslin-Allen 17:42, 3.James Lanswood 17:47, 4.Tom Bains 17:50


Senior Women (8.1km)

A dark horse as she had been going into the Trials, steeplechaser Hattie Dean showed plenty of horsepower in her gear to upstage pre-race favourite Gemma Steel into a fairytale comeback on the country of Liverpool, having not raced since late May in Rome.

But a touch of altitude training in the land of the runners, the famous Rift Valley, went a long way against a currently flying Steel, on an unbeaten run since September, who made her intentions clear from early on to make a tough pace out of it from the front and not leave matters to a late burn-up at the hands of faster finishers.

And her tactics all but worked to plan quickly since soon only Dean was still following along, yet fairly comfortably, as the two kept moving away from the rest of the field with every stride and lap.  But when the crunch came, the Barcelona ‘chase fourth placer’s strength and track speed told to work her crucial space that stretched up to four seconds in the end for a superb victory and a big confidence boost.

Needless to say that both booked their place on the team to Vilenje a fortnight on, clocking 27:05 and 27:09 respectively, with Scott Freya Murray, racing into form after an intermittent year due to sorts of injuries, just pipping up-and-coming U23 Hannah Walker for the last automatic place as both shared the same time of 27:32. The latter must have been more than content to clinch her age group title though.

A race of fairytale returns was most fittingly suplemented a place behind with the delightful sight of Steph Twell, in her first serious competitive test since her freak ankle injury in February, who applied well and performed beyond all expectations to secure the runner-up spot and a berth in the U23 side in 27:37. Maybe the story of the day above all with her hopes receiving a massive mental boost in view of London next summer.

Charlene Thomas, also on a return after a lengthy injury lay-off, came in well behind in 14th in 28:15 and Sian Edwards, a nearly forgotten golden prospect of the recent past, trailed a long way back in 34th well over two minutes behind the top places; can she revive the promise she showed in the U20 ranks only a few seasons ago?


1.Hattie Dean 27:05, 2.Gemma Steel 27:09, 3.Freya Murray 27:32, 4.Hannah Walker (U23) 27:32, 5.Steph Twell (U23) 27:37, 6.Julia Bleasdale 27:39, 7.Elle Baker 27:44, 8.Naomi Taschimovitz (U23) 27:45, 9.Emma Pallant (U23) 28:04, 10.Emily Wicks 28:05, …, 14.Charlene Thomas 28:15, 15.Justina Heslop 28:19, 16.Lauren Howarth (U23) 28:24, 17.Katrina Wooton 28:26, 19.Natalie Harvey 28:39, 20.Jessica Sparke 28:35, 31.Andrea Whitcombe (W35) 28:35, 24.Emily Pidgeon (U23) 28:43, 25.Beth Potter (U23) 28:49, 30.Kate Avery (U23) 29:10, 31.Jessica Coulson (U23) 29:21, 32.Abbey McGhee (U23) 29:24, 34.Sian Edwards 29:31, 41.Felicity Milton 29:41


U23 Women

Behind Walker and a buoyant Twell, new face in the swim Naomi Taschimovitz ensured of a British vest taking third in 27:45 and Emma Pallant followed in fourth in 28:04 to effectively qualify herself.

On the other hand, Lauren Howarth must have been disappointed with just a 16th finish in 28:24 while Emily Pidgeon ranged further adrift in 24th in 28:43 and Kate Avery ended up well down the order in 30th in 29:10, both still looking to find their way.

Most surprisingly, new Mick Woods-asset Jess Coulson trailed way behind in 31st only a couple of months on setting a UK age best over 10 miles, some niggle possibly creeping in in the interim.

1.Hannah Walker 27:32, 2.Steph Twell 27:37, 3.Naomi Taschimovitz 27:45, 4.Emma Pallant 28:04, 5.Lily Partridge 28:09, 6.Lauren Howarth 28:24


U20 Women (4.4km)

The eagerly anticipated three-way clash in the affair, incorporating the U17 group, remained on paper as Emelia Gorecka turned up with ideas of her own to demolish the field with aplomb in the most impressive performance of the day.

The race stood as a contest only round the first lap until the European U20 5000m silver medallist, another one of Mick Woods’s wonder girls, moved up a gear to swiftly open up a decisive gap that was ever growing and claim the race sight unseen.

Her final winning margin of 16 seconds, wrapping up the distance in 14:54, simply echoed the magnitude and quality of her supremacy and form as she will be heading to Slovenia with confidence sky high to add the European title to her silverware.

Notwithstanding a thorough defeat, sensational U17 Jessica Judd turned in a stellar display of her own to convincingly hold off  European U20 bronze medallist Annabel Gummow into a superb runner-up for her tender age, clocking 15:10 to 15:15 respectively, and demonstrate her amazing range once more while Stoke’s Katie Holt emerged as a new force, just a 9:55 performer over 3000m last summer, to grab a sound fourth in 15:23 further behind.

1.Emelia Gorecka 14:54, 2.Jessica Judd (U17) 15:10, 3.Annabel Gummow 15:15, 4.Katie Holt 15:23, 5.Amy Griffiths (U17) 15:25, 6.Beth Carter 15:28, 7.Gemma Kersey 15:31, 8.Laura Muir 15:42, 9.Grace Baker (U17) 15:42


U17 Women

Apart from highly-anticipated Judd, 15-year-old Amy Griffiths shone brightly herself to clinch a striking overall fifth and second in the U17 class in 15:25 as she is rising a new fascinating prospect through the ranks and a potential heir to the summit.

Grace Baker, also 15, was third and ninth overall in 15:42 to add to a very prolific day for Woods’s group.

1.Jessica Judd 15:10, 2.Amy Griffiths 15:25, 3.Grace Baker 15:42, 4.Abbie Hetherington 16:00

Full Results




Purdue out but Twell comes in at European XC Trials in Liverpool

Top distance hopeful Charlotte Purdue will be missing the second leg of the McCain’s Cross-Country Challenge, incorporating the European Trials for Velenje (Slovenia) a fortnight on Sunday, due to a knee complaint that forced her into a slightly earlier return from a training stint in Kenya last week.

Nevertheless, the Mick Woods-coached U23 runner looks to have been pre-selected on the senior team and can solely turn her sights on the European Championships where she is aiming to steer into the medals.

By contrast, groupmate star Steph Twell, having also just returned from Kenya, is contesting her first serious race since a freak accident in February that saw her miss the entire track season, hoping to snatch a place of her own on the British team.

The 22-year-old tested her leg in a calculated gamble of a low-key road relay in September to come off well and unscathed but she is still lying some way off top shape and therefore may have to fight her way into the U23 outfit, with Hannah Walker, Lauren Howarth and teammate Emma Pallant figuring among the starters.

On the other hand, in-excellent-form Gemma Steel is brimming with confidence and pace as she heads into the race as standout senior favourite to clinch a second back-to-back victory in the series and it’s hard to see where a challenge could come from given the complexion of the affair.

Backing up her claim, the 26-year-old remains unbeaten on any surface or distance since September and would like to add to that three-on-the-trot string.

A further couple of very welcome returns to the fold involve ‘chaser Hattie Dean, fourth over the barriers in Barcelona last year, who competes for the first time since injury ruined a season that started in the most promising colours of a straight Olympic qualifier of 9:37.95 in Rome last May; as well as European Cup 1500m victor Charlene Thomas who hasn’t raced on any surface since the very same time of her highest feat so far as though following parallel fortunes.

Despite their pedigree, both are going to be unknown quantities until the contest gets going and maybe even further until it hits decisive stages, likely feeling their way into action.

Freya Murray, Justina Heslop and Julia Bleasdale are other notable names on the start-lists, which oddly don’t include the name of Thomas – a late withdrawal?

On the men’s side, the presence of World Student Games champion Andy Vernon promises an injection of quality on the opener of the series and a stern test for the likes of Frank Tickner and Phil Wicks, the prominent figures in Bristol, along with the comeback of Andy Baddeley on the country after sitting out last winter. It will be really interesting to see what sort of proposition the latter is going to offer on the back of a poor summer campaign.

U23 steeplechaser James Wilkinson has got to be a red-hot favourite among U23 men while James Walsh, Tom Humphries and Mark Draper, apparently working his way back over the barriers, are other names to watch.

Emelia Gorecka and Annabel Gummow, the silver and bronze medallists over 5000m at the European U20 Championships, engage in a very enticing duel in the junior ranks anew and the affair is spiced up nicely with the presence of sensational U17 prospect Jessica Judd.

The first three-past-the-post in each division gain automatic qualification for Slovenia although an U23 runner that finishes in a senior qualifying spot, with the two age groups blended into a single race, can still claim his place in the top tier.


Entry Lists


Selection policy


BMW Frankfurt Marathon, Frankfurt, Germany

Wilson Kipsang storms to second fastest in marathon history in a 2h03:42 clocking in Frankfurt

Wilson Kipsang turned every bit as good as he promised when he set out to chase Patrick Makau‘s newly-set world record of 2h03:38 in Berlin and for roughly three fourths of the distance he was well on schedule to land his goal, cruising halfway through in 61:40 and four seconds faster than his compatriot under perfect racing conditions.

Peter Kirui, who is making a fine reputation as a marathon pacemaker, was taking him along the way with amazing timing precision while Ethiopian Deriba Merga and the Kenyan duo of Levy Matebo and Albert Matebor comprised the rest of the company through the third quarter of the distance.

However, either by lapse of concentration or fatigue creeping up on Kirui, the pace drifted considerably off target towards around the 2h04 region within three kilometres, between 30th and 33rd, and suddenly Kipsang found himself faced with a mighty task to haul in a substantial deficit effected.

To his credit, he didn’t pack up his original goal and sensing the record slipping out of his grasp he took over matters from there to move up a gear and start slicing away the lost time, opening up quickly plenty of distance on the rest up front. But he may have taken a little too late to make that move as it turned out.

For he may have put in a gallant effort that all but made up the lost ground in the dying stages but still fell short of his target by a mere four seconds reaching a stunning 2h03:42, the second fastest mark in history and a huge PB on his previous course record of 2h04:57.

Magnificent though it is a feat, there might have been a bitter-sweet taste in Kipsang’s mouth and possibly a question “What if” hanging on his mind looking at his time, which astonishingly cannot even make a national record. It’s not everyday that you come so close to a world record, let alone in an event where your next attempt has to wait at least a few months.

Nonetheless, a time he has taken full pride of and that raises him as a main contender in the battle royal for one of the three much coveted marathon spots on the Kenyan Olympic team for London, which is unfolding nothing less of relentless and breathtaking.

Following Frankfurt’s staggering results, the Kenyans now occupy all top 19 places in the world rankings to demonstrate a dominance of no equal in any Olympic event in history in a single season. Not to mention that Nicholas Manza is lying equal 20th at 2h06:34! Sadly, only three can make the journey so who those three to see the light are going to be?

A dominance that was demonstrated in overwhelming manner as a lengthy array of world class performances from Kenyans were laid out behind; just 22-year-old Levy Matebo finished well to smash his own PB into a new mark of 2h05:16 and fourth spot in the global lists, Albert Matebor followed closely in also a massive PB of 2h05:25 and fifth in the world and Phillip Sanga was fourth in a PB of 2h06:04.

Further behind, 23-year-old Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot ended up fifth in 2h06:29 – just a SB and six seconds shy of his PB on the same course in 2009! – and Kirui made yet another pacemaker lately to hold on through the whole distance and get finally rewarded with a PB of 2h06:31 for sixth!

The first non-Kenyan home was ‘poor’ Siraj Gena (ETH) in eighth despite a 2h08:31 (PB), a picture no much different than the all-time top ten has shaped up where great Haile Gebrselassie is the only runner beyond the Kenyan borders to figure now, lying third with the until two months ago world record of 2h03:59.

Men’s Results

1.Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich (KEN) 2h03:42 (PB, 2nd fastest all-time, course record), 2.Levy Matebo Omari (KEN) 2h05:16 (PB), 3.Albert Kiplagat Matebor (KEN) 2h05:25 (PB), 4.Phillip Kimutai Sanga (KEN) 2h06:07 (PB), 5.Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (KEN) 2h06:29 (SB), 6.Peter Cheruiyot Kirui (KEN) 2h06:31 (PB), 7.Chumba Dickson Kiptolo (KEN) 2h07:23 (PB), 8.Siraj Genah (ETH) 2h08:31 (PB), 9.Duncan Koech (KEN) 2h08:38, 10.Henry Sugut (KEN) 2h08:56


In women, Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska rose through the ranks to score a rather surprise victory in a huge PB of 2h21:59, fifth fastest in the world and atop of the Ethiopian lists this term, shattering the course record by nearly one and a half minute.

Agnes Kirpop (KEN) followed on a distant runner-up in a PB of 2h23:54 and highly-rated compatriot Flomena Chepchirchir was third on an impressive debut of 2h24:21 while Rita Jeptoo Busienei dragged home fifth in 2h25:44.

Liz Yelling eventually came up short of the top end of qualication territory and had to settle only for a narrow Olympic B qualifier of 2h34:58 instead, a SB and her fastest in the distance since 2008. That means that she is finding herself very much on the ropes, with four runners holding already the high standard and Mara Yamauchi yet to go, so she will need to pull off an astonishing late rally to turn the situation round in the remaining months till the selection deadline.

Paula Radliffe ought to be considered a certainty for selection when the panel in charge meets for the first time on December 5 and others like Jo Pavey, who is racing in New York next Sunday, have the chance to improve on their times and pull further away in the race for places in London.

Women’s Results

1.Mamitu Daska (ETH) 2h21:59 (PB), 2.Agnes Kiprop (KEN) 2h23:54 (PB), 3.Fiomena Chepchirchir (KEN) 2h24:21 (PB), 4.Merima Mohammed (ETH) 2h24:32 (SB), 5.Rita Jeptoo Sisienei (KEN) 2h25:44 (PB), 6.Nadia Ejaffini (ITA) 2h26:15 (PB), 7.Fate Tola (ETH) 2h27:18, 8.Birugtait Degefa (ETH) 2h27:34, 9.Sabrina Mockenhaupt (GER) 2h28:08, 10.Alena Samokhvalova (RUS) 2h28:43,…, 18.Liz Yelling 2h34:58 (SB, Olympic B)


Charlie Purdue, back flying in both training and racing, put in a strong tail-end run to lead a strong Mick Woods-guided quartet to a comfortable win for Aldershot, Farnham & District at the women’s ERRA Road Relays in Birmingham, covering her part in a fluent 13:48.

Emma Pallant put them in front through a solid second leg of 14:16 to open up a 29-second gap on the opposition and drafted-in U20 Emelia Gorecka held her ground well over a third section of 14:30, sustaining a 12-second cushion for the ‘Pocket Rocket’ going into the anchor.

The European U20 5000m silver medalist was pleased with her run as she kept the attacks of Hannah Walker (14:08) and European U20 5000m bronze medalist Annabel Gummow (14:15) at bay.

Surprisingly, the fastest time of the day didn’t belong to Purdue but a surging Gemma Steel in 13:45, taking Charnwood up two places for runner-ups, to follow up on a shocking convincing win over Jo Pavey in Sheffield last weekend. There should also be noted a strong lead-off by return U23 girl Jess Coulson in 13:51 for Stockport.

Fastest legs: 1.Gemma Steel 13:45, 2.Charlie Purdue (U23) 13:48,  3.Jess Coulson (U23) 13:51, 4.Hannah Walker (U23) 14:08, 5.Lauren Howarth (U23) 14:14

Teams: 1.AFD A 57:17, 2.Charnwood AC 58:20, 3.Bristol & West AC 58:50

Full Results


World Student champion Andy Vernon injected a solid 16:58 penultimate leg to place AFD well in control of the men’s contest and set up Ben Moreau to anchor the side to a double of titles by over half a minute. But the man that caught the eye was U23 steeplechaser James Wilkinson who stormed to a 16:38 finishing run for fourth-placed Leeds AC.

Fastest legs: 1.James Wilkinson (U23) 16:38, 2.Andy Vernon 16:58, 3.Zak Kihara 17:02, 4.Keith Gerrard 17:07, 5.Dewi Griffiths (U23) 17:07

Teams: 1.AFD A 1h44:51, 2.Birchfield 1h45:22, 3.NEB 1h45:30

Full Results


Meanwhile, Phil Wicks has gained the Olympic qualifying B standard in the marathon as he ran a decent debut of 2h15:37 to occupy 21st place in a very fast race in the streets of Amsterdam, overrun as it has become a familiar sight this season by Kenyans who filled all five top positions in sub 2h07 times at that!

The Belgrave runner was on A standard schedule for a considerable part of the race but missed his drinks up to the 24km, cramped up at the 32dn and inevitably tailed off in the late stages as a consequence.